Papa II

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Papa II was an interrogation centre in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir,[1] operated by the Border Security Force (BSF)[2] from the start of the Kashmir insurgency in 1989 until it was shut down in 1996.


Every security force operating in Kashmir had its own interrogation centres in the state which included temporary detention centres at BSF, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and army camps.[3] Detainees were first interrogated by the detaining security force for a period of time which ranged from several hours to several weeks.[3] During this time no person was allowed to meet the detainee and the detainee was not produced before the court.[3] Detainees suspected of being militants were handed over to Counter-Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) and are interrogated at Joint Interrogation Centres (JICs) where detention sometimes lasted for months.[3] Papa II was one of several such centres in Kashmir.[3]

Lawyers in Kashmir told Asia Watch in 1993 that they had filed approximately 15,000 petitions since 1990 calling the state authorities to reveal the situation of the detainees and the charges against them, but the authorities had not responded.[3]

Operation of Papa II[edit]

The building, of colonial origin, was initially a government guest house to accommodate visiting bureaucrats, in "serene surroundings" - the exclusive Gupkar Road[4] on the banks of the Dal Lake in Srinagar. On occupation by the paramilitary Border Security Force in 1989, it was named Papa II "in an attempt to keep the compound’s new purpose nominally confidential".[5]

A May 1996 report by Human Rights Watch detailed allegations of abuse and torture at Papa II.[6] According to William Dalrymple, Papa II was a centre into which

...large numbers of local people, as well as the occasional captured foreign jihadi, would "disappear." Their bodies would later be found, if at all, floating down rivers, bruised, covered in cigarette burns, missing fingers or even whole limbs.[7]

A method of interrogation by which bodies of suspects were placed under heavy rollers caused at least 250 deaths through acute renal failure at one Srinagar hospital alone, according to Pankaj Mishra.[8] Others died through application of electric shocks, and particularly through "immersing the prisoners’ heads in water during interrogation."[5] One commonly observed consequence of the use of torture through electrodes attached to the detainee's genitals is that released detainees find themselves either unable to consummate or sometimes even participate in normal sexual relationships.[5][9] It is unknown how many deaths occurred at Papa II, the most intensive centre of its kind: on the tenth of every month, the relatives of some of the disappeared stage a public protest near the building, demanding information on their kin from the authorities; they claim about 10,000 have gone missing during the years of militancy.[5] The Government of India contests that figure.[10]

Shut down[edit]

Following D.K. Basu vs West Bengal in December 1996, in which judgment[11] the Supreme Court of India laid out restrictions on detention without trial in an attempt to curb custodial violence,[12] and the election of the left-leaning United Front government at the Centre, most interrogation centres, including Papa II, were shut down.

Since then it has been used as a residence by senior state politicians, including the state finance minister. Currently it is the official residence of Mehbooba Mufti, who leads the People's Democratic Party, though her occupation of it is contested by those who would prefer it to be a memorial to the ones who disappeared.[5]


  1. ^ Wirsing, Robert (1994). India, Pakistan, and the Kashmir dispute: on regional conflict and its resolution. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-17562-0. 
  2. ^ "Behind the Kashmir Conflict". Human Rights Watch. October 1998. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Asia Watch, a division of Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights (1993). The Human Rights Crisis in Kashmir: A Pattern of Impunity. Human Rights Watch. p. 85. ISBN 1-56432-104-5. 
  4. ^ Ranjit Hoskote (2005-06-19). "Crossfire zone". The Hindu. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Hamid, Arshad (September 2007). "Kashmir's tortured past and present" (– Scholar search). Himal. Retrieved 2008-04-21. [dead link][dead link]
  6. ^ Gossman, Patricia (May 1996). "INDIA'S SECRET ARMY IN KASHMIR: New Patterns of Abuse Emerge in the Conflict". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  7. ^ Dalrymple, William (1 May 2008). "Kashmir: The Scarred and the Beautiful". The New York Review of Books. 
  8. ^ Mishra, Pankaj (21 September 2000). "Death in Kashmir - The New York Review of Books". The New York Review of Books. 
  9. ^ Peer, Basharat (May–June 2007). "Style Over Substance". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  10. ^ Amnesty International, Analysis of the Government of India's response to Amnesty International's report on torture and deaths in custody in Jammu and Kashmir, 1995.
  11. ^ Judgement dated December 18, 1996, in W.P. (Crl.) No. 539 of 1986 W.P. (Crl.) No. 592 of 1987 Ashok K. Johri Vs State of U.P.
    A copy of the judgment can be found at Supreme Court of India (2002-10-03). "SHRI D.K. BASU v State of West Bengal". Asian Legal Resource Center. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  12. ^ Lokaneeta, Jinee (March 2008). "Evil, Law and the State: Issues in State Power and Violence". Salzburg, Austria.  |contribution= ignored (help)